Commissioner's Blog: Top tips to keep your home and family protected this winter

The cooler weather has finally arrived and this usually means staying warm by using products like heaters, wheat/heat packs, hot water bottles and electric blankets, or even sitting near a cosy fire.

 

Consumer Protection is reminding people there are safety risks with many winter products and if not careful, they could pose a fire hazard to your home. Winter is also a time to be aware of mould in the home, as well as the safety of children’s clothing, which can be flammable.

 

Smoke alarms are our first line of defence against fires – so it’s vital the batteries are replaced annually, they are regularly tested, and alarms more than 10 years old are replaced.

 

Simple precautions such as checking for recalls on all products, following safety guidelines, and being vigilant about safety can go a long way in protecting your family and home.

 

Children are particularly vulnerable to burns and accidents, so it is crucial to keep them away from open flames and heaters. Their pyjamas and dressing gowns can be highly flammable so check the mandatory fire labelling to determine the fire risk rating. Also avoid loose fitting sleepwear and be cautious of PJs bought online that may not comply with Australian mandatory safety standards.

 

Gas heaters should be serviced by a licensed gas fitter at least every two years, or annually if the equipment is more than 10 years old. The gas fitter can check for issues such as blockages, overheating or burner problems or inadequate ventilation in the room.  Never bring outdoor heaters inside the house.

 

If you are the kind of person who loves heating up their bed before jumping in, there are also some things to consider. Check your electric blanket for damage to cords and wires, always turn it off before going to sleep and avoid placing objects on your bed while it’s on.

 

Use hot tap water, not boiling water, to fill up your hot water bottle and consider buying a new one every year as they can hide damage internally. Allow a heat or wheat pack to cool before reheating it and chuck it out it if you smell burning.

 

Condensation that builds up on walls and windows can lead to mould and cause nasty health problems. Open windows each day to ventilate your home and scrub mould off hard surfaces using soapy water or vinegar – it must by physically removed to prevent regrowth.

 

Lastly, store matches and lighters in a safe place, out of reach of children and never leave them alone with any open flame like a fireplace or even candles.

 

By being proactive and making safety a top priority we can all enjoy a warm and cosy winter season free of harm this year.

 

For more in depth information on staying safe this winter or to check the latest recalls on heating products – go to www.productsafety.gov.au/wellwinter

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
09 Jul 2024

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